Letter from David L. McNees, pre-Chickamauga action

David L. McNees was from Lawrence County, PA when he enlisted on 10/12/61, mustering in to Company H., 78th PA Infantry. He was discharged for disability on 7/11/64.  He died August 21, 1864.

He wrote the following letter:

Head Quarters 2nd Div 4th Al
Walker County Georgia
September 12th 1863,

[composed just before the regiment’s heavy engagement in the Battle of Chickamauga.]

Excerpt:

We are at the foot of a very large mountain. We came down here on the ninth and on the tenth we advanced five miles and run against the whole rebel army and then retreat from Chattanooga but there was to many for our division but we held our position until yesterday morning when the first Division of our corps came. by that time the rebs tried to flank us and we had to fall back. and skirmished with them and again the tried to flank us but we moved back again and formed a new line and held it all night, and this morning the third Division of our Corps came up but the Rebs is Retreating.  we would have destroyed thair whole train of wagons and captured a good portion of them. I expect we will catch the most of them yet.


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In Jan., 1863, the Army of the Cumberland, under Gen. Rosecrans, was divided into three corps, the 14th, 20th and 21st, and the 78th was assigned to the 3rd brigade (Col. Miller), 2nd division (Gen. Negley), 14th corps (Gen. Thomas).  It was engaged in provost duty at Murfreesboro until April, and in June shared in Rosecrans, campaign from Murfreesboro to Tullahoma.  It then encamped at Decherd until Aug. 15, when it moved with the army in pursuit of Bragg.

On Sept. 11, a part of the regiment was engaged at Dug gap, Ga., the whole regiment shared in the desperate fighting at Chickamauga and then retired with the army to Chattanooga.  While here it was assigned to the 3rd brigade (Gen. Starkweather), 1st division (Gen. R. M. Johnson), 14th corps (Gen. John M. Palmer).  In the decisive engagements at Orchard Knob, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the 78th was engaged with small loss, and it participated in a reconnoissance to the summit of Lookout Mountain.  In company with the 21st Wis., the regiment was assigned to duty on Lookout mountain until May, 1864, when it rejoined its brigade at Graysville and moved with Sherman’s army on the Atlanta campaign.
Source: The Union Army, vol. 1

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Source: Nate Sanders auction

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